As many as 90 per cent of Palestinian prisoners have been subjected to various types of torture and abuse in Israeli jails, a report revealed yesterday.
The report by the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ and Ex-Prisoners Affairs, which came on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, highlighted the increasing practice of torture against Palestinian prisoners after the kidnapping of three settlers in June 2014.
According to the report, torture is systematically practiced by the Israeli Security Agency, Shin Bet, under legal cover from the Israeli government, the Israeli Legal Counsel and the Supreme Court who allow investigators to use violence and internationally prohibited means during interrogations under the pretext that the detainees pose a “security risk for the state of Israel”.
The Committee’s report points out that Israel’s use of torture is considered a war crime according to the Geneva Convention and the International Criminal Court, however the Israeli penal code gives immunity for Shin Bet interrogators.
Earlier this week, the Israeli Knesset extended a law which allowed security officials not to record the interrogation of detainees held on security charges, which many believe leaves them open to being tortured and forced to confession under duress.
The report said the Israeli intelligence used brutal and immoral methods of torture during interrogations including: severe beatings, insults and curses, isolation in solitary confinement, no access to lawyers, arrest of family members as a means of pressure, sexual harassment, sleep deprivation, violent shaking, electric shocks and stress amongst others.
According to the report, the percentage of complaints on the use of torture increased after mid-2014 to reach twice the number documented in 2013.
Human rights organisations point out that as many as 850 complaints were filed by Palestinian prisoners against the practice of torture; however the cases were rejected by the Israeli judiciary.
Israel’s Civil Wrongs Law passed on 23 July 2012 prevents Palestinian victims from filing complaints against Israeli officials who committed crimes including torture against them.